Guest Post: Effortless Summer Makeup by Alexandra Dale

Guest Post: Effortless Summer Makeup by Alexandra Dale

Today’s guest post is by the masterful, Boston-based Makeup Artist, Alexandra (Ali) Dale. I have now known her for about 15 years and it’s incredible to see how she had translated her passion into a career. Below, Ali provides a step-by-step on how to achieve an natural, everyday summer look. Enjoy!

I was so excited when my high school friend Pooja reached out to me about doing a guest blog post on a clean and effortless summer makeup look. I have a true a passion for making makeup fun and accessible to the everyday makeup user. For this simple summer look, I used long-wearing products that feel light and look natural on the face. It’s modeled after the “no-makeup makeup” looks that are used frequently in runway shows and beach photo shoots. It also requires only six products and two tools, making it ideal for vacations or the office! This complexion-focused look is also a great base to work off of when creating a more dramatic look for evening (by adding more eye makeup and a brighter lip color).  Follow the steps and images to re-create this look.

Post title

Products:

  • Stila Stay All Day® 10-In-One HD Illuminating Beauty Balm With Broad Spectrum SPF 30
  • MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Bronze Fusion in 20M
  • SEPHORA COLLECTION Smoothing & Brightening Concealer in #5 Radiant Peach
  • Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Soft Brunette
  • tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes™ Statement Mascara in Black
  • MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Plexi-Gloss in 301P

1. Six essential items

Tools:

7. Tools Beauty Blender, powder brush

Step-by-step:

1. Apply a few small dabs of BB cream to fingertips. A BB cream is great for a lightweight summer foundation. It doesn’t give a lot of coverage, so some of your skin will show through, giving a more natural finish to the makeup. If you’d like more coverage just apply your powder foundation over your BB cream. Product used: Stila BB Cream which is both water resistant and has SPF 30.

Step 1

2. With your fingertips, apply BB cream around the face avoiding the eye area. Start in the middle of the face and blend outwards. Don’t worry about it looking streaky, because we’ll perfect the skin later with a Beauty Blender.

Step 2

3. Take a concealer and apply it 360 degrees around the eye (lid, brow bone and underneath the eye). Again, this will look streaky and that’s okay! Product used: Sephora Smoothing & Brightening Concealer which gives great coverage but has a lightweight texture, helping eliminate those dreaded creases around the eye area.

Step 3

4. Take your slightly damp Beauty Blender sponge and press-and-roll the sponge around the face to smooth out the BB cream.

Step 4

5. Next, move the Beauty Blender around the eyes to blend out any hard edges of the concealer.

Step 5

6. Now it’s bronzer time! Using a medium-sized powder brush, dust the bronzer where the sun naturally hits you on the forehead and cheeks; be sure to also lightly apply some along the jawline to add some definition. You can apply some to the bridge of your nose as well to get a sun-kissed effect. Tip: To transition this look for evening, apply blush to the apples of your cheeks and a little highlighting powder to the top of the cheek bone. Product used: Make Up For Ever Bronzer which is a gel to powder formula that goes on smoothly, is waterproof, and gives a subtle warmth to the skin.

Step 6

7. We will now move to the eyebrows. Using a retractable, angled brow pencil is easy and provides a subtle yet defined look which stays put all day. Use a short sketching motion to apply the pencil to your brow area. Use the spooly at the other end to pick up excess pigment and give the brows natural hair texture. Product used: Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil which has colors that match brow tones perfectly and lasts forever! I’ve been using mine for months and it still hasn’t run out. Great investment product.

Step 7

8. & 9. The last two steps are super quick and simple: Throw on your mascara, making sure you add a lot of product to the root of the lashes, since we’re not using any eyeliner to define the eyes. Mascara will give definition to the eyes but keeps the look fresh and bright. Lastly, swipe on a lightweight gloss to give a hint of color and shine to the lips. Heavy lipsticks can be a bit much during the summer months and need to be touched-up frequently. Product used: Tarte Lights Camera Flashes Mascara which instantly separates and adds volume to lashes; Make Up For Ever Plexi Gloss Lip Gloss which wears well, feels light (not super sticky) and comes in every color imaginable. One of my favorite glosses out there.

Step 8

Step 9

Et voilà! Doesn’t Ali look gorgeous? Thanks Ali for these easy tips and tricks for this beautiful look. Can’t wait to try it!

9. After (2)

To reach Ali:

Alexandra Dale, Makeup Artist

Alexandradalemakeupartistry.com

Alexandratdale@gmail.com

Facebook: Alexandra Makeup Artistry

Instagram: AlexandraMakeupArtistry

Mobile: 413-364-7875

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Mr. Monday: The Art Of Shaving

I never realized that there was an actual art to men’s shaving until I saw Maithil rotate through products until he found the right ones. “It wasn’t until my early to mid-twenties that I figured out that I needed more than just some shaving cream and a razor with multiples blades. The right products, especially ones that suit your skin and hair type, make a world of difference,” Maithil explained to me. It should be noted that he has dark, manageable, not-too-thick hair that he needs to shave about twice a week. He has tried many different products, including those from Harry’s, Gillette, Art of Shaving, and even soap/conditioner and water. His current favorites leave his face silky smooth, almost cut and nick-free and smelling wonderful.

Men's Shaving Products

1. Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Razor With Flexball Handle and 2. Razor Blades

3. Jack Black Beard Lube Conditioning Shave

4. The Art of Shaving Pure Badger Brush

5. The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Shaving Cream

6. Anthony After Shave Balm

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Mani-Pedi Combos

Getting a manicure/pedicure is that one little luxury that I always wish I had more time for in my schedule. I keep telling myself that it is not a priority and thus, it rarely happens. Plus, when we lived in Hoboken, I could walk just around the block and find two or three salons whereas now, I have to drive at least ten minutes to the closest salon or fit it in post-work and take a later train home. But, what I recently realized is that I can easily give myself a mani-pedi at home while Rian naps. It would not be as relaxing and the results would most likely not be as perfect as having someone else do my nails, but I am sure that it would make me feel better and a bit more polished. These are the colors that I am hoping to pair when I actually put this thought into practice, hopefully this weekend.

Nails

The Summer Matching Combo: Dior Tra La La + Deborah Lippmann Lullaby of Broadway

The Complementary Combo: Butter London Tiddly + Nars Thasos

The Darker Combo: Essie Picked Perfect + Deborah Lippmann Laughin to the Bank (Shm)

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Mr. Monday: Summer White On White

Mr. Monday: Summer White On White

From a very young age, I always had an appreciation for black colored clothing as it was a staple in my dad’s wardrobe. My mom would urge him to add more color into his closet but he would always shrug off her comments and tell her that she would not understand until she worked in fashion and retail. It was not until high school when I also realized my love for white. A crisp white button-down with white jeans or a little white dress soon became staples in my closet. There is something just clean, refreshing, and polished about a monochromatic, white-on-white outfit. For men, it can at times be a little intimidating to wear all white. The solution? Add just a touch of color, preferably another neutral to maintain that streamlined look. For the summer months, chambray serves as the ideal, comfortable neutral. Maithil’s whole outfit is a versatile go-to for chilly summer nights and warm summer days (with those sleeves rolled up, of course).

m white on white

m white details

white shoes

shoe backs

m jump2

Outfit details: Book-A-Tailor Custom Shirt, J. Crew Shorts (similar here), Old Navy Belt (similar here), Ray-Ban Aviators (similar here), Ben Sherman Shoes

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Our Trip to Providence, RI

Our Trip to Providence, RI

Over the 4th of July long weekend, we took trip up north to Providence, Rhode Island to visit my friend of 15 years, Vanessa (we met on the first day of high school!). As I mentioned in a previous post, she recently moved back from Barcelona and is currently conducting research for Brown University. She was gracious enough to have us stay at her place, which she shares with her sister who was out of town, and entertain us for the weekend. Maithil and I stayed in her sister’s room while Rian slept in the office in his new pack-and-play. Rian was battling a nasty cold but was in great spirits overall, especially given all of the extra attention. It was so nice to be able to catch up with Vanessa. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed her! Here’s a peak into our time in Providence:

Rian would wake up around 5:30/6am each morning. It’s a great thing Vanessa lives around the corner from Seven Stars Bakery, one of the best and friendliest bakeries I’ve been to, and just a few blocks from the park. By Sunday, we had learned that the only way to allow everyone to sleep was to take Rian out to explore. It also gave me the perfect excuse to enjoy freshly baked croissants and comforting, not-too-sweet hot chocolates!

7 Star Bakery

It got warmer as the weekend progressed and made for a not-too-hot beach day. This was Rian’s first trip to the beach this season. We took him last year but he was far too young to actually enjoy the sand and water. Toys in hand, we headed to rock and shell-free Narragansett Beach.

Rian sand play

He was not quite sure what to make of the sand at first. But after a tutorial on how to fill up his bucket with sand and make fun shapes, he was on board.

IMG_9254

Maithil took him to the water to gauge his interest before we changed him into his bathing suit. Curious and excited, he had no fear of the slightly chilly water.

Rian sand play_2

So he filled up his bucket and he was off!

Rian beach

He was waving and blowing kisses to friendly strangers. He even ran up to a six-year-old making a castle and screamed with glee. There was no doubt that he loved this place. Just a boy, his bucket, the sand beneath his feet, and the water between his toes.

V Beach_2

He even showed Auntie Vanessa just how adventurous he could be by going deeper and deeper. There was a point when the waves were coming up to his belly and almost knocking him over but he would just laugh with joy and wonder.

We also enjoyed a late lunch at The Grange, hands-down the best vegetarian restaurant we have ever experienced. Even carnivores, case in point, Vanessa, love this place. We had the Roasted Cauliflower with sweet chilil sauce, green onions, cilantro ginger aioli, and peanuts (not pictured) to start, and then Maithil and I shared the General Tso’s Tacos with seitan, queso fresco, green onions, chili aioli, kim chi, and guacamole and Quinoa Salad with a variety of lettuces, avocado, beets, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, roasted garlic dressing, and a fried egg (upon request). We sent back clean plates – I think that explains it all. I wish I could eat those tacos at least once a week.

The Grange

A note to the owners: Bravo! Keep up the great work. Oh, and can you please open a location in NY or NJ? Thanks!

On Saturday, our friend Liz, and my roommate in boarding school for three years, came up from Boston for the night. We lazied around, caught up and headed to a park on a small lake. Honestly, it made no difference what we did. It was just nice to be in their company.

the park

How gorgeous is this view from the park?

V and R playground

Rian definitely developed a crush on Auntie Vanessa as he knew that she would always play with him, carry him around and succumb to his demands. She is simply fantastic with children (she will certainly make a wonderful mom someday).

We then strolled through the Brown University campus down to the empty streets of downtown. That night, the three of us girls went and saw the fireworks while Maithil relaxed at home (caught up on The Walking Dead) as Rian slept. We left once the girls were up on Sunday morning. Was it the most relaxing of weekends? Nope, because one of the two of us was always tending to Rian. But, regardless of how tired I was on Sunday night, I was so thrilled to see, chat and laugh with friends who have known me for over half of my life.

V+L

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The Last Two Weeks

The Last Two Weeks

I have not written in about two weeks. I have thought about writing everyday. Then, I think about the mountain of things I have to get through that day, become a bit overwhelmed, and move on to something that needs my immediate attention. A lot has happened in the last two weeks. My boss as well as a colleague both quit, reducing my day-to-day team by half. I have taken on a lot of their responsibilities all while trying to stay fully on top of my own work. But, it has somehow all fallen into place this week and I finally feel like I have a good handle on things.

In addition, Rian got his 15 month vaccinations which led to a nasty cold. To top that off, Maithil caught a worse version of that cold and just as I thought that I was spared, I, too, fell sick. Not being able to breathe through your nose for a couple of days certainly does not bring out the best in anyone.

And, finally, after a weekend of playing with and carrying Rian more often than I should have, I woke up to a terrible pain in my hip on Sunday morning. Stretching and Maithil’s massage helped, but the pain returned with a vengeance yesterday at work and I could barely even make it to the bathroom. A trip to the chiropractor, stretching, elevating my feet while sitting at my desk, and rarely carrying Rian have all helped and I am back to being mobile again today. (I can’t say that I am thrilled about not being able to carry my own son but, at this point, extreme measures are required.)

I must admit that I was a bit down and out through all of this. My mantra was to just get through each day at a time. I had to constantly keep reminding myself to be happy about the things I would accomplish and not be upset about the things that were pending. My body is clearly telling me to slow down a bit and it’s about time that I listen. Most importantly, I have to remember to not be too hard on myself as I know that I am my own worst critic. It also got me rethinking a lot about whether women can really have it all and Pepsi CEO, Indra Nooyi’s take on the matter. My opinion changes daily.

Pic above: These two, especially the taller one, really help me get through it all. Thank you for all that you do Maithil.

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The Parenthood: Monica Guzman Preston

The Parenthood: Monica Guzman Preston

The Parenthood is a new series with a focus on parents balancing work, kids, life and everything in between. It is a very real glimpse into the everyday lives of people, just like you and me, who are figuring out parenthood as they go. There is no manual for one of the toughest jobs in the world. The hope is that these accounts provide some interesting perspectives into the undefined and ever-changing life as a parent.

 

Monica Guzman Preston and I met when she was my editor for the college paper my freshman year. She was a few years older, witty, super smart, and always had a big smile on her face, even when we were in crisis mode. Now a full-time freelance journalist, she lives in Seattle with her adorable kids, Julian and Carolina, and her supportive husband, Jason.

1. What is your morning routine?

I wake up between 5 and 6 a.m. to work before my baby [Lina] gets up. I usually get an hour or two on the couch before she stirs in her crib, I go nurse her in bed, and put her back in the crib for another hour or so of sleep. When my almost 3-year-old [Julian] gets up at 8 a.m., I put down work and get to parenting, and fit in a shower where I can!

Monica_working
Monica_Julian

2. What is your typical breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?

Breakfast is Cheerios or Oatmeal Squares with strawberries and/or bananas. Lunch is leftovers or, if I’m lucky, the Greek Salad at Vios Cafe in Seattle, my favorite. Dinner is whatever my husband and I cook up. These days, probably something grilled out back.

Monica_Greek Salad

3. What is your everyday style?

Ha! Not much. These days I wear the same pair of cutoff jeans over and over again because I have no idea where my other summery pants and skirts have ended up, and haven’t made the time to look. I’m in a bun phase for my hair, and am thinking about cutting it short, partly ’cause it would look great (I think), partly ’cause I’m bored, and partly so my baby doesn’t tug at it.

Monica with Lina (long hair pulled back)

Monica with Lina (long hair pulled back)

4. Do you have a makeup ritual? (What products do you like to use every day? What is your go-to for a special occasion?)

Again – ha! I’ve never been much of a makeup girl. While friends in high school and college had whole kits I had, like, three things in tubes or something. Right now it’s all from Sephora, and it’s been the same for a while. A tinted moisturizer foundation, some blush, some concealer. Occasionally the mascara. I couldn’t tell you the exact brands because I’ve never really cared beyond asking the Sephora people what they recommend and spot-checking the price so it’s not insane. I have eye-shadow, somewhere, but it’s been months since I’ve used it.

5. Tell me more about the work that you do. (Did you always know this is what you wanted to do? Do you go into an office or do you work from home? Do you love what you do? What does the future hold?)

I’m a journalist. The details are complicated. I’ve been freelance for several years, writing for The Seattle Times, GeekWire, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review, and Quill Magazine. Usually I write columns on technology, media, or culture. My interest and work in journalism goes beyond writing, though. I like thinking about how journalism can be done differently and how it can involve the public more, and get new courage. Right now I’m working on a research study into that, and I’m loving it. So yes: I LOVE what I do. I’ve stopped asking myself if I’d want to work in anything else. Next year I’ll be a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, which will be amazing.

Monica conducting an interview at a GeekWire conference

Monica conducting an interview at a GeekWire conference

6. Any advice for aspiring writers?

Write. Don’t wait for anything. Just do it.

7. When did you move to Seattle? Why?

On December 31, 2006. I moved here to finish off a fellowship with Hearst Newspapers right after college. I came to work at The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which became the largest daily metro newspaper to shut down its print edition back in 2009. (Those were a really awful few months.) I don’t want to live anywhere else. I love this place.

8. How do you and Jason balance work and life? Any special tips?

Don’t expect to do it perfectly or you’ll go nuts. I’m convinced we all have cycles. We look for consistent formulas of ideal time spent doing this or that but the truth is that there is no consistency, not even in our own preferences, so “balance” is always a moving target, if it’s a target at all. You need lots of forgiveness and flexibility, and you need to cut yourself and your spouse/partner some slack. Especially if you have kids – that one amazing collaborative project you can’t screw up, and both of you are so invested in.

Monica_Jason+kids

9. How often do you and Jason have a chance to go on a date night? Describe one of your favorite dates.

Every Friday! We’re so lucky: my parents (below) live nearby and give us every Friday out while they watch the kids. We usually go to dinner and a movie, or just one big long dinner. It’s good to leave lots of room to chat. The best date night is one where I feel we’ve had time to dig deep enough into each other’s state of mind that we feel caught up, refreshed, and right there with each other.

Monica_grandparents

10. What has becoming a parent of two taught you?

Ha! Everything. I mean, everything. I have a hard time recognizing who I was before I became a parent. It’s changed my brain entirely. I have new thoughts on responsibility, time, my place in the world, society, hope, meaning, the whole thing. These are new depths and new challenges. The highs are higher, the lows are lower and the fears are much scarier. Parenting turned the volume up on life, and I feel like I can hear things that escaped me before. It’s awesome.

Monica_Julian and Lina

Thanks Monica, I especially appreciate your take on finding an ideal “balance” and how it is always a moving target!

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A 32-Hour Workweek

A 32-Hour Workweek

More does not always equal more. The Atlantic has a new feature about a world without work, especially as more jobs now have the ability to be automated by machines. Doing away with work does not seem advantageous for a number of reasons, many of which are explained in the article. But, the real questions here are:

  1. Is a 40-hour work week the most productive way of working? (Does anyone actually ever just work 40 hours in a week?)
  2. How do we finally strike a work-life balance?
  3. What can companies do to counter-balance the terrible leave policies in the US?
  4. Why don’t more people love what they do?
  5. What factors contribute in creating a favorable workplace experience?

In the video below, Ryan Carson, the CEO of Treehouse, explains his logic behind instating a 32-hour workweek, all while providing employees a full pay and benefits package. Treehouse staff has a 3-day weekend every week and it is rare that they ever take work home. There is a clear distinction between work and life, allowing them to spend more time with their families, pursue their passions outside of work, and use their time at work as productively as possible. I would assume that this would certainly also reduce the burn-out factor and give everyone ample time to refresh before Monday morning. Carson brings up an interesting point in stating that spending more time on something does not always mean that you are getting more accomplished. I know that I am certainly not very productive on Friday afternoons after about 4pm. At that point, I am just planning for Monday, getting out the last of my emails and shutting down for the weekend. I also don’t think that I’ve ever had a day when I have not responded to work emails outside of working hours. I can’t even imagine what that would be like. Could I be more efficient and complete my work in a 32 hour workweek? Certainly. Especially if it meant more uninterrupted time with my family and time to pursue my other interests.

Top Comic Credit

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Summer Plans

Summer Plans

Although we often dream of the southern Californian distinct season-less lifestyle, we know that, at least for now, the East Coast is the right coast for us. But, this also means that we only get about 4 months of warm temperatures before it turns into sweater weather. This summer, our goal is to plan many small trips with Rian. He loves exploring new places and being outside so anywhere with enough space to run free is a winner in his book. Unfortunately, he is not the type of kid who is happy to be in his car seat and take a long snooze or just look out the window for any extended period of time. Thus, our trips have to consist of manageable travel times. I think any place more than 3-5 hours away would be rough. With that in mind, here are some of the adventures we are looking forward to this summer: More

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Splurge vs. Save: The Bucket Bag

Splurge vs. Save: The Bucket Bag

I have a great appreciation for all things fashion/retail. I love knowing the history of a brand, the details of the craftsmanship, the pricing strategy, the leadership’s goals for the customer, and their overall philosophy. It is not very often that I come across a product that I really crave to own. Enter Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bags (above). Designed in New York and made in Italy, these beautifully simple and elegant bags are truly timeless. I feel like I would use it for years to come and it would wear very well over time. Plus, at $495-$695, the price-point is just right for a high-end bag, right in line with Tory Burch or Coach. So why don’t I own one of these beauties already? Well, the issue is that they sell out within seconds of becoming available online! Maithil’s niece stalked the site for months before getting lucky enough to score one. While I await a Mansur Gavriel, I may have to purchase one of the below, all being a steal at less than $60 each. More

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